Archive for May 17th, 2012

Crown Him the Lord of Life
Who triumphed o’er the grave
And rose victorious in the strife
For those He came to save.
His glories now we sing
Who died and rose on high,
Who died eternal life to bring
And lives that death may die.

Crown Him the Lord of Love.
Behold His hands and side,
Rich wounds, yet visible above,
In beauty glorified.
No angel in the sky
Can fully bear that sight,
But downward bends his wondering eye
At mysteries so bright!

Ascension Day is the coronation celebration of the Lord as He is proclaimed to be King of the universe. Jesus’ ascension to the Father is His entrance to the greater existence beyond the confines of time and space, being no longer bound by the limitations of His state of humiliation. Jesus now sits at the right hand of God, which Luther correctly taught is everywhere, having again taken up the power and authority that were His since before time. Yet our Lord is present with us who remain bound by time and space. He is with us as true God and true man, exercising His rulership in the Church through the Means of Grace that He established, His Word and His Sacraments. We mortals in those Means of Grace can grasp the King of the universe and receive a foretaste of the feast to come.

The last Thursday we were gathered together as His Church in the Divine Service was Maundy, or Holy Thursday, during Holy Week.  Holy Thursday is “the night in which He was betrayed” and He took bread and the cup, gave thanks and gave us His Body and Blood in bread and wine.  “Maundy” is related to Latin word for “command”:  He commanded His Supper of His real Presence and commanded us to wash each other’s feet in loving service on that night. Ascension, 4o days after Pascha, or Easter, is always a Thursday.  He bodily and  spiritually ascended into heaven to be with us, heaven come to earth, in the Sacrament of Holy Communion which He instituted some 43 days ago, on the Thursday before Good Friday. The two Thursdays are intimately connected in Jesus Christ because the ascended Lord, bodily and spiritually, deigns to be with us in His Supper, proclaiming His death until He comes again.

Thursday is kind of a non important day in the secular world:  not like Saturday and Sunday the weekend or like Monday the first day of the work week, or like Wednesday, “hump day” or Friday, TGIF.  Yet, our Lord did something everyday of the week to hallow it, especially Thursday.  The world does not recognize any longer Maundy Thursday and Ascension Thursday.  Sadly, the Church does not give much heed to Ascension.  I have had many discussions with pastors, “Do you do anything on Ascension?”  “Nah, no one comes.”  As if numbers were the reason we have Liturgy and not the Word of God, Incarnate, preached and written.  Funny:  we don’t ‘have’ Ascension but we want the ascended Lord to have us! He does and we grab hold of Him in faith.

There is only one solution for our unworthiness: the worth of God. We have nothing in our hands to offer to God that He could. possibly want from us. Here is the mustard seed of faith that believes that God gives the fullness of His grace. Such faith does much more than move mountains and uproot trees. It moves the mass of our sins and uproots our wickedness, drowning them in the depths of the sea (Micah7:19). It has done good works before it is even aware that they are required (Matthew 25:37).

The servants of God must continually confess their unworthiness (Luke17:10). This would be an utter disaster if our standing in God’s sight were a matter of fulfilling our duty. It’s not! We are free to confess our unworthiness because the Lord meets our confession with acceptance and does not reject us for the sake of Christ’s precious blood offered for us. We may confess our weakness of faith, because we are invited to drink of the true fountain by Him. We know where our strength comes from. Not from ourselves. This is why the Church’s children ever confess our own unworthiness, for our worth is His. (From Pr. Murray’s A Year with the Church Fathers:  Meditations for Each Day of the Church Year.)

Almighty God, as Your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, ascended into the heavens, so may we also ascend in heart and mind and continually dwell there with Him, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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